Anna Matyja, Ph.D.

Dr. Anna Matyja is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the State of Illinois.  She completed her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Psychology and Sociology from Northern Illinois University in 2005.  Dr. Matyja went on to earn her Master of Arts (M.A.) Degree and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree in Clinical Psychology from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale in 2014.  She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Thomas E. Cook Counseling Center at Virginia Tech where she received extensive training in psychological testing, individual, and group psychotherapy with young adults.

Dr. Matyja works with adolescent and adult populations on a wide array of issues, including depression, anxiety, trauma, eating disorders, ADHD, and learning disorders.  She has an extensive background in psychological evaluation of ADHD and learning disabilities, working with women’s issues, and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy approaches.  She joined the outpatient staff of Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. in 2017 where she provides professional services to outpatient clients.  Dr. Matyja is fluent in Polish and is an active member of the American Psychological Association.

Keri Downs, Psy.D.

Keri Downs, Psy.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the State of Illinois.  She completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology at Dartmouth College in 2003.  Keri went on to earn her Master of Arts Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Boston University and Doctor of Psychology Degree (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago.  Keri has experience working with various populations in a variety of settings, including residential treatment centers, therapeutic day schools, public school systems, inpatient hospitals, and outpatient clinics throughout the Chicagoland and Metro Boston areas.

Keri has special interest in working with children and adolescents, trauma, and diversity issues and is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).  Through her doctoral dissertation, Keri explored racial identification in black-white biracial children.  Keri’s approach to psychotherapy encompasses a wide range of interventions that typically rooted in strengths-based, relationship-based, and cognitive-behavioral theories.  She is aware of the strengths of her clients and their families and, whenever possible, incorporates creative approaches into all modalities of therapy.  Keri also believes that the therapeutic relationship is a powerful tool to help individuals gain deeper awareness and insight into their emotions, behaviors, and relationships.

Keri joined Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. in 2017 and works as an outpatient psychotherapist in his Chicago office providing psychological testing and counseling services to children, adolescents, and adults.  Keri has a passion for playing basketball and boxing and she is an avid fan of hometown teams (DISCLAIMER:  Since moving here, Keri has opened up her heart to the Chicago teams as well!! 😀 ).

Joan Erenberg, LCPC, BC-DMT, RYT

Ms. Joan Erenberg received her Master of Arts Degree from Columbia College of Chicago with specialization in the creative arts therapies and has been practicing in the Chicago area for over ten years with a wide array of cultural backgrounds.  Joan helps her clients tap into their inner resources to cultivate psychological balance and well-being and is interested in working with mood, anxiety, grief and loss, body image issues, and Post-Traumatic Stress and emotional trauma.  Joan collaborates with her clients to better manage emotional challenges and psychological symptoms that are interfering with daily functioning as well as to address life transitions, existential issues or guide those who are feeling stuck in old patterns and beliefs.  Joan believes that growth and healing occur when individuals are empowered to integrate the psychological, social, emotional, creative, and physical aspects of self and invites her clients to explore coping strategies to better manage both interpersonal stressors and internal conflict.  Joan integrates a variety of treatment modalities into her helping approach including cognitive-behavioral, dialectical behavioral, relational, humanistic / client-centered, existential, mindfulness, yoga, and creative arts / expressive therapies.

Joan joined Dr. Parisi and Associates, P.C. as a psychotherapist focusing mostly on adolescents and adults in his Chicago office.  She lives in Chicago and also facilitates special groups and workshops to promote interpersonal learning.

Kathleen Alberts, LCPC, CCSOTS

kathleen_albertsMs. Kathleen Alberts, LCPC, CCSOTS is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in the State of Illinois and a Clinically Certified Sex Offender Treatment Specialist (CCSOTS).  Kathleen earned her Bachelors of Social Worker (BSW) and Masters of Social Work (MSW) Degrees Summa Cum Laude from George Williams College of Social Work at Aurora University in Aurora, Illinois.

Kathleen’s career in behavioral healthcare spans over two decades where she has worked in nearly every capacity imaginable.  She has served as Clinical Director of the Adolescent Sex Offender Treatment Unit with the Friends of Children under Supervision Program in Illinois.  She also worked at the non-defunct UHS, Streamwood Behavioral Health Systems Residential Program and has worked in private practice since 1993 serving all age groups with an emphasis on treating children and adolescents, self-harming behaviors, victims of crime / abuse, PTSD, bullying, domestic violence, sexual harassment, families, parenting, marriage counseling, court-approved divorce and family mediation, court-appointed child custody evaluation, court-appointed expert on child behavior and emotional disorders and families, Sex Offender Treatment and Assessment (SOMB Approved), supervision, and psychiatric assessment and treatment of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and personality disorders.  Kathleen’s treatment style is eclectic and borrows from CBT, DBT,  family systems, trauma-focused psychotherapy, solution-focused psychotherapy, mindfulness, and play therapy.

Kathleen lives in the Western suburbs and joined the staff of Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. as an outpatient psychotherapist at his Mount Prospect office in 2015.

Michael Juhasz, LCPC, CADC

mike_juhasz picMichael (Mike) Juhasz, LCPC, CADC is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in Illinois and received his Masters of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois, Springfield in 1980.  He is also a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor (CADC) in the State of Illinois.  He has spent many years working in the mental health / substance abuse field utilizing a wide range of cognitive-behavioral interventions to focus on relapse prevention and mental health wellness.  His clinical orientation is eclectic – meaning he is able to provide specific counseling strategies to meet the needs of his clients.

Mike believes in a wellness-based approach to behavioral healthcare – advocating that his clients take care of themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually to live a balanced lifestyle for optimal psychological well-being.  His professional interests include treating self-esteem issues, depression, anxiety, life-transition issues, and substance abuse related disorders.  Mike has extensive experience working in an outpatient community mental health clinic as well as an inpatient settings.  He joined the staff of Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. in 2015 and works in the Mount Prospect office location.

Mike has been married to his lovely wife for 31 years and lives in the Northwest suburbs.  He enjoys barbecuing on the grill, visiting with friends, exercising, and is a Chicago sports fan.  His peers tell him that he has a warm personality and is easy to talk to.

Melissa Colon, Psy.D.

dr_melissa_colonMelissa Colon, Psy.D. completed her Bachelor of Science Degree (B.S.) from Roosevelt University of Chicago and her Doctor of Psychology Degree (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology from Adler University in Chicago.

Dr. Colon is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Illinois specialized in Clinical Neuropsychology and Psychophysiology.  She is also a certified parent educator.  She has extensive experience in brain-mapping (QEEG) techniques, neurofeedback treatments and technologies, neuropsychological assessment, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Dr. Colon works with both pediatric and adult populations on an array of issues, including:  Autism, ADD / ADHD, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), Pain Management, ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), Parenting Techniques, Dementia, Anxiety, Depression, and Learning Disorders.

Dr. Colon joined the staff of Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. in 2016 and works in both inpatient and outpatient settings.  Her passion lies in the neuroscience field.  Dr. Colon enjoys keeping up with the latest research and technologies in the field of Clinical Neuropsychology and neurofeedback techniques.

Dr. Colon enjoys spending time with her family, reading, traveling, and spending time outdoors.

Nupur Sharma, LCPC

nupur_sharma picNupur Sharma, LCPC is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in the State of Illinois and is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology for Loyola University in Chicago and her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Nupur’s clinical experience includes assessment and counseling of adolescent, adults, and elderly clients.  She has expertise in the areas of depression, anxiety and relationship issues.  Nupur treats both individuals and families and has a strong, multicultural orientation in her therapeutic approach – recognizing the importance of cultural sensitivity with clients with immigration and acculturation difficulties.   She joined the staff of Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. as an outpatient counselor and works in the Mount Prospect office location.

Nupur is passionate about advocating for individuals and families – empowering them to change.  Her clinical approach has been influenced by both Eastern and Western philosophies that help restore balance to her client’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Nupur is a bilingual / bicultural psychotherapist and is fluent in both English and Hindi.

Can Hobbies Improve Mental Health?

Improve mental healthIt is easy for people to get wrapped up in various treatments, therapies, and medications when it comes to controlling mental illness but did you know simply engaging in hobbies you already love can help too?

According to a 2009 study testing the potential of managing anxiety in eating disorders with knitting found that, “patients reported a subjective reduction in anxious preoccupation when knitting, more specifically- 74 percent reported it had a calming and therapeutic effect.” (1) Engaging in a hobby you already love may be just the treatment you have been looking for. Some people find that listening to music, volunteer work, keeping a daily journal of events and how they feel, laughter, playing with pets, shopping, or other forms of common hobbies helped them to relax. (2)

From singing to cooking and just about every hobby in-between, taking time to relax with an activity you enjoy can help you reap a multitude of benefits when it comes to mental health. Here’s a few that you can look forward to.

  • Reduces stress. Transitioning the focus from the chaos of life to a fun, easy, and enjoyable task can instantly help reduce stress levels. Harness this benefit by opting for more relaxing hobbies. These may include knitting, painting, photographing, journaling, or even bird watching. Whichever hobby you choose, be sure it makes you feel more relaxed.
  • Improves mood. Taking a break to do something you already love beats an extra hour spent at the office anyway. Investing in hobbies can feel similar to taking a break and enjoying yourself and obviously breaks and joy often produce an improved mood. A hobby should always be something you desire doing.
  • Encourages socialization. Though not all, but some hobbies can help encourage socialization where you would otherwise spend time alone. And numerous studies have found a connection between relationships and happiness. Consider participating in group hobbies like team sports, clubs, or other activities that draw a crowd.
  • Improves memory. Did you know studies have shown that people who regularly challenge themselves through puzzles, games, and reading can not only improve their memory now, but also help themselves avoid memory loss later in life? If you enjoy challenging your mind with puzzles you can expect to reap this benefit.
  • Wards off depression. If your hobby of choice is an activity you find happiness in, it can easily help ward off feelings of depression and sadness. If you find yourself not loving a hobby, stop doing it and find something new that you do love. Hobbies are meant to be fun, and in order to benefit from them you must enjoy doing them.

While people may be consumed with treatments, therapies, and medications- sometimes all you need to lift up your spirits and improve your overall mental health is a little time spent doing a favorite hobby. Invest in yourself by taking the time to participate in things that you love. By doing so you can begin to reap the many mental health benefits that can accompany hobbies.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation

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Sources:

  1. Managing Anxiety in Eating Disorders with Knitting, Results quote, 2009, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=knitting+anxiety
  2. Management, Information about hobbies, 2015, http://www.stress.org/military/combat-stress/management/